22 Association of Research Libraries Research Library Issues 299 2019 that hoping against the future is not a strategy. Instead, now is the time for a broad array of experts to anticipate new directions in technology innovation in order to begin shaping an ethical and sustainable future rooted in equitable outcomes. Future Humans Perhaps the horizon of technology innovation will increasingly be shaped by developments in human enhancement or human engineering. Advances in human-machine combining (cybernetics) and genetic engineering promise to create radical changes to human society and unprecedented questions of ethics, equity, and accountability that will easily match or exceed those being generated by AI. Today, every major military industrial state is racing to develop capacities in military soldiers that surpass those of unmodified humans. These efforts include exoskeletons, drug enhancements, brain implants, and “smart” (AI-driven) prostheses such efforts would permit soldiers to carry heavier loads greater distances, control tools or weapons by thinking, process information more quickly than a normal human by interfacing with an AI system, or function on alert for days without sleeping. Given the high stakes of military dominance for which the world’s most powerful military nation-states compete, there is every reason, as well, to expect genetic engineering to emerge in military applications on a global scale. Medical therapies constitute arguably the most compelling motivation for aggressively pursuing human enhancement. It is one thing, after all, to rationalize modifying humans for warfare, which inherently involves killing and destruction. It is quite another to justify modifying humans As our global society increasingly recognizes that technology is not merely technical but also societal and human- oriented, new doors of opportunity are opening for humanists to take leadership of the most important efforts that might shape the future of society.
Previous Page Next Page